Purdue University is where Pi Chi Omega was founded. We always look forward to “coming home” and holding a membership meeting in conjunction with the Purdue Pest Management Conference. Last year we were together in the West Faculty Lounge of the Purdue Memorial Union and enjoyed a hot meal as we gathered around tables. Zoom forward 1 year, and 35 of our members were huddled around their desks or make-shift home offices connecting through this virtual meeting on January 13th for a quick meeting.

As Shep noted during his opening remarks, “we now have experience operating in a virtual world and while it isn’t ideal, it’s far from fatal. The altered pace of business has understandably served as a speed bump to some of our initiatives, but we are undaunted and forge ahead to keep our community headed in the direction of our mission and our vision.”

With that positive frame of mind, the Committee Chairs of Pi Chi Omega recapped 2020 and looked forward to 2021. Aside from approving past minutes and taking roll, here’s a brief synopsis of the Committee Reports that made up the bulk of the meeting:

Scholarship Committee – Desiree Straubinger reported on scholarships awarded in 2020 and told members to look for those 5 student’s research updates in an upcoming issue of Pi Chi Omega News. She also encouraged students to apply for a 2021 scholarship by March 15th. The committee also held a couple fundraising efforts which netted more than $600 during the Purdue event.

Treasurer’s Report – Russ Ives shared year-end financial reporting for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and caught members up on the organization’s performance for the first half of this membership year. All in all, Russ reports we are on solid ground financially, but with uncertainty about significant previous scholarship donations that we have counted on for years in question, he did ask for members to consider supporting the scholarship fundraisers in any way they can. Russ noted that we can always reach back into reserves to support each year’s scholarships, but we’d rather fund them on the current year’s donations as we have done for years.

Membership Committee – The Membership Committee presented 4 new nominations for the membership to approve and all were accepted. Welcome Dr. Zachary DeVries, Amanda Klein, Greg Orr and Jen Sweeney! Unfortunately, the membership also voted to forfeit 12 members who were behind on their dues by 2 years. These folks can re-establish their membership by paying their outstanding dues within 30 days. If you are on this list, or know someone who is, please contact us. Most likely we have just lost touch with them!

Pi Chi Omega Gives Back – Tom Mueller has led this committee for the past year that has been working on two new programs, a Pi Chi Omega Online Forum and the Jr. Entomologist Program. With major contributions from Glen Ramsey and other committee members, the Jr. Entomologist Program is on the cusp of being rolled out! Tom gave a short demonstration of the Power Point presentation and how it would work. The committee hopes to roll the program out soon and is planning a Premier Screening at an event, possibly in conjunction with the National Conference on Urban Entomology in May.

Shep indicated that our members in every sector have learned they can operate in spite of the reduced travel and meeting opportunities and as we get more practice, it becomes easier. By the time we no longer need it, we’ll be experts. He thanked everyone for mastering and attending the membership meeting “at Purdue” from wherever they were! We sure hope to meet in person for Purdue ‘22!